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360 Hacked To Play Backups 157

Posted by Zonk
from the no-time-for-microsoft-to-enjoy-post-e3-buzz dept.
xorkid writes "Microsoft Corps ' unhackable' Xbox 360 console has been hacked. It is now possible to play copied games from recordable DVD DL discs without any soldering or hardware modification. The ingenious hack involves replacing the original 360 DVD firmware with a modified version that authenticates recorded DVD DL discs as original game discs. The hack does not require any modification devices but it requires a 1:1 copy of an original signed disc from the same region as the console. So it does not allow booting of unsigned code, yet. No Linux on the 360 for now, but its a start. There are rumours that there is an as-of-yet unreleased version that allows booting of unsigned code."
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360 Hacked To Play Backups

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  • Complex Guide (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CogDissident (951207)
    These instructions are relatively complex, hopefully there will be a simplified and streamlined step-by-step guide posted sometime soon so most technically-literate people can mod their boxes like this.
  • Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The_Isle_of_Mark (713212) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:09PM (#15336144)
    Never, never, ever say something is unhackable. Someone out there with a much bigger brain than the developers will see it as a personal challenge.
    • Re:Once again... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by generic-man (33649)
      Nobody but Slashdot said the 360 was "unhackable.' The quote in the BBC article linked from the summary says: "Microsoft plans to make its next generation games console, the Xbox 360, as difficult as possible to hack." (emphasis added)

      I attended a Microsoft presentation last year before the 360's release. The engineers there said that the console wouldn't be totally immune to hacking, they just want (a) to make sure that it's very hard/costly/complex to hack it and (b) to keep hacked 360s off of Live. Fr
      • "Can Microsoft detect it via Xbox LIVE? They probably can ... and when they start checking they will probably act like with the Xbox1, ban your Xbox 360 console serial for life from the LIVE servers ... or maybe even more, who knows what they are planning. You've been warned!"

        It's well known that foolproof remote verification of client code from a server [distributed.net] is impossible, so confidence in XBox Live's ability to detect this mod seems misplaced at best.

        • If there is a strong remote verification system, then a no warning, single offense, permanent ban policy can make it virtually impossible to circumvent.

          In order to craft an undetectable hack, one will almost certainly get detected through failure. It would be prohibitively costly for a hacker to consistently sign up for a new Live account each time they get banned.

          Note that I am talking about a ban of the Live user account, not the serial number. It is pointless to ban a serial number because one could spoo
    • I want stuff like the awesome homebrew software that was available for Xbox1. Like the XBMC, for example.
    • Re:Once again... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pete-classic (75983)
      That's not the risk. The problem is thousands of people, some of whom are more perverse thinkers than the engineers, will take it as a personal challenge.

      -Peter
    • OK, I'll bite.

      I have a perfectly ordinary chunk of limestone rock.

      No one, not now, not ever, will be able to hack it to run Linux. Or run any piece of software code at all. I declare it "unhackable." At least for software hacks.

      • Ok, here's how to hack it to run linux (assuming mod chipping is considered hacking)

        1) Obtain a Shuttle PC
        2) Attach to the limestons using a combination of soldering and Duck Tape
        3) Insert Linux CD
        4) ???
        5) Profit

        Of course, this technically is not hacking the rock, but given the way the word is bruited about for anything from mod chips to BIOS replacements to a paperclip in the CD-ROM, it works well enough. Actually, Limestone is a decent conductor of heat, so might be useful as a heatsink. Maybe.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:09PM (#15336151)
    Me: "Xbox, report."

    Xbox: (sounding suspiciously like Majel Barrett) "Working... Verifying disc integrity with Microsoft servers."

    Me: Um, hey. How about you open up the tray and let me have that back?"

    Xbox: "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that."

    (cue blaring klaxons, pan to to the horrified expression on my face as MS agents repelling through the windows with drawn MP40s)
  • An iceberg? (Score:5, Funny)

    by the dark hero (971268) <adriatic_hero.hotmail@com> on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:10PM (#15336156) Homepage
    Hah! Nonsense. This ship is unsinkable!
  • Interesting.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caffeinatedOnline (926067) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:10PM (#15336160) Homepage
    As E3 just gets over and the next-gen console wars start to heat up, a hack for the 360 comes out allowing for 'backup' games to be run. Now, I realize that MS loses money with each console sold, but how many people wait to buy a console till a way comes out to play 'backup' games?

    I know many people that didn't own an original Xbox till they found out how easy it was to hack it, then ran out to get one. I am sure that MS will shut down Live for any systems that are running this hack just as they did for the Xbox running the softmod hack, but could this be something that MS planned on to sell more systems?
    • I realize that MS loses money with each console sold...could this be something that MS planned on to sell more systems?

      You mean so that Microsoft can lose even more money? Money they won't make up in game royalties since people will be running backups? Doesn't make sense to me.

      • You must understand, in the Conspiracy Theorist domain, no big company or government EVER has an "Oh shit." moment where they're caught with their pants down. Every action and apparent mistake is actually a carefully planned plot to make us eat Dorittos.
      • I know very few people that don't own at least a couple of 'bought' games even if they bought the console to hack in the first place. Sure, they aren't going to go out and buy every game that they want to play, but there is always the games that don't 'backup' easy, or games that they do really like and buy to support the developers/publishers.
      • MS has no problems losing money on something, when it fits their world domination plans in some perverse way.

        E.g., they never had a problem giving away IE or MS Media Player, and even arguing in a court of justice that they can't stop giving them away withot breaking the OS completely, if it served some other plan. In both cases the plot was about owning the media format (HTML is a file format too), and in Media Player's case owning the DRM for the next generation of media. There's some real money dumped in
        • E.g., they never had a problem giving away IE or MS Media Player,
          Bad examples. Does giving IE and WMP away for free cost Microsoft $4 Billion plus in losses like the Xbox did? The Xbox & 360 continue to incur Microsoft expenses with the manufacturing of each new unit. There is no additional cost for Microsoft to make more copies of IE and WMP.
          • However there is a cost in developing your own browser and to a less extent media player (they can actually earn money on the later one using their WMA and (won't) play for sure.
    • how many people wait to buy a console till a way comes out to play 'backup' games?

      I dunno... two percent? Three percent?

      I'll readily admit that the reason I'm looking to buy a 'classic' Xbox right now is because of all the hacks that have been done on that console to allow unsigned code like Linux, emulators, XBMC, etc. to be run on it. I'll also readily admit that I'm not normal.

      From my perspective, the Xbox1 is not a gaming console, it is an affordable general-purpose computer that integrates easily int
    • Great idea, but at this point I am not sure this hack is remotely detectable. Check the details...The DVD is reprogrammed to simply always report as XBOX Media type.

      The downside is that it is a *bit* daunting at present and so will not be widely adopted--failure means a XBrick.
  • Great job hacking Microsoft's Unhackable 360! Looking at the instructions, it seems a rather complex hoop jump, and if that's the case -- I'll stick with KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv] and MAME [mame.net].
  • Replacing the DVD drive firmware, which involves opening the X360 and plugging the DVD drive into a PC, doesn't sound like a hardware mod?
    • No, it doesn't. It's not a hardware mod unless a soldering gun is involved.
    • I think they meant "no hardware modifications" in the sense that "you won't have to buy and/or solder anything." This is a pretty common idea in the modding community; for example, a modification that requires you to open the xbox and attach the HD to a PC is considered a softmod.
      • If you want to be picky about it, since it's neither modifying software or hardware but firmware, you could call it a firmmod.
      • it's a softmod because the start-up sequence is exploited (by replacing some font files)

        you are referring to a hotswap or a harddrive upgrade

        the hard drive's firmware isn't altered in any way... so it's still a softmod
        hooking the drive up to your pc is just a way of altering the drive's content
        (if you have any other means of getting an exploited gamesave onto to xbox, and if you're happy with the size of the original drive you can do the same thing through an ftp connection)

        this isn't a softmod... it's a fl
  • I always love it when anything, anywhere is called "unhackable" because in the real world, absolutely nothing is. Microsoft (of all companies) should have seen this coming, having been founded by a bunch of hackers, having tons of highly-paid hackers on staff, and having many of the arguably most-pirated apps out there.
    • by flooey (695860) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:22PM (#15336280)
      I always love it when anything, anywhere is called "unhackable" because in the real world, absolutely nothing is. Microsoft (of all companies) should have seen this coming, having been founded by a bunch of hackers, having tons of highly-paid hackers on staff, and having many of the arguably most-pirated apps out there.

      I always love it when people attribute phrases to people who didn't say them, personally :) From the article linked to:

      But Mr Satchell admitted no system was fool-proof and that, with enough time and dedication, the security on the Xbox 360 would be broken.

      "There're some really bright people in the world with some really expensive hardware," he said.

      "I'm sure sooner or later someone will work out how to circumvent security. But the way we have done the design doesn't mean that it will work on somebody else's machine."
  • Per-Xbox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Have Blue (616) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:20PM (#15336266) Homepage
    It sounds like this hack is a procedure that has to be performed for each 360, not a universal key that can be mass-produced like an Xbox 1 chip. And of course expect a new rev of the 360 that breaks this to hit pretty soon (or, as a stopgap, all 360s start using the Hitachi drive).
    • Re:Per-Xbox (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:28PM (#15336836) Homepage
      Of course, those chips also need to be distributed and installed - one chip per xbox. Unless I missed something here, this is a no chip solution. You can take your xbox360 to anyone intelligent enough to read instructions and flash firmware, and walk out with a modded xbox360. Hell, everyone on slashdot can do it now as long as they got the right kind. No, this one might be fixed in a new revision but how many vunerable consoles are there? A million or more? Not to mention the method should work on the other drive as well - since there's no firmware confirmation code, all it takes is another firmware job. So I'd estimate all the xbox360s to date will become moddable.
  • by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:21PM (#15336271)
    It looks like it's just another "hack the DVD drive to run copies of games", right? Geez. So it's just a way to run pirated copies, not even a way to build a homebrew system -- and it involves opening up the box and reflashing the firmware? And, of course, it's easy to mitigate; bets on whether the next rev of the 360 checks the DVD firmware signature on boot up?
  • I wonder if it's just me who find it a bit tragicomic that you need a hack to play backups but not just any downloaded ISO's.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday May 15, 2006 @01:23PM (#15336291)
    Why hasn't anyone ever invented The Linux Game? Create a signed game, pay royalities to the game console provider, scream MONOPOLY at the top of your lungs if the refuse you, and have a running Linux OS on the game console. Might be a best seller.
    • Just what court are you going to convice that Microsoft holds a monopoly in the game console market when there are 2 other MAJOR players and a handful of smaller companies that produce these products? The mere fact that you could also try and convice Sony or Nintendo to publish your "Linux game" (both of which would probably say no, or develop their own version if they wanted it released) invalidates that claim.
    • It already happened, Sony published a linux kit for the PS2 which included the hard drive and network adapter, and a hacked up version of RedHat 5. Strangely, it was not a bestseller.

      Besides, MS Sony and Nintendo don't want open platforms, because it means people will do what THEY want with the hardware instead of what the COMPANY wants, which is to buy more games at a fever pitch. It doesnt pay for MS to take a loss on a console, make a few dollars on a licensed linux, and kiss royalties goodbye as yo
      • Sony published a linux kit for the PS2 which included the hard drive and network adapter, and a hacked up version of RedHat 5. Strangely, it was not a bestseller.

        You have to load your kernel off of a memory card and you got APIs for practically none of the PS2 hardware. The Linux kit cost as much as a cheap PC. There was absolutely no reason to run linux on PS2.

  • MS never said it would be unhackable.

    Also, this hack is not a real hack to run unsigned code or even something you can put on a mod chip. This doesn't even count...
  • Is this hack future-proof for unreleased games? Or will it only work with already-existing games? If this is only a "temporary" hack until Microsoft includes updated code in a future game release, then it doesn't serve much purpose for me.

    Somebody "in the know" please provide some insight!
  • When was is claimed that the XBox 360 was "unhackable"? I recall the several interviews in which it was cliamed that the 360 would be more difficult to hack and that a good deal of effort was put in to closing previously exploited routes (or making them even more difficult to exploit), but I can't seem to remember when a Microsoft rep flat out claimed that the 360 was "unhackable". The linked article linked claiming an "unhackable" 360 doesn't even make such a claim.

    Of course, I realize it is cool to ta

  • By now it really isn't any surprise that a given console is hacked to play so called "backup" games. I think the interesting thing is that with each new generation, this process is becoming more complex, meaning that the average Joe/Jane who tries these hacks is more likely to totally disable (ie "brick") the console. And many of those who do successfully implement the hack are likely to be banned from the not so optional anymore online services associated with the console. Oddly enough, in the end this pro
    • ...this process is becoming more complex, meaning that the average Joe/Jane who tries these hacks is more likely to totally disable (ie "brick") the console...

      That is quite stupid if you tell me, at least in Mexico average Jose/Maria either buys their "modified" console at Tepito Market [wikipedia.org] where it is set up by Mexican engineers who can not get a real job and apply their knowledge doing that.

      Oh and if you wondered, all the consoles "va garantizado jefe" ("it is warranted boss") so if it does not play the USD$
  • by Doomstalk (629173) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:16PM (#15336738)
    ...through all the words you put in their mouth. The article linked in the story does not claim that the system is unhackable, just that it's significantly harder to hack than previous systems. Taken directly from that story: "I'm sure sooner or later someone will work out how to circumvent security. But the way we have done the design doesn't mean that it will work on somebody else's machine." That's remarkably pragmatic considering the blanket claim you're attributing to them.
  • The difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rowan_u (859287) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:20PM (#15336758)
    The difference this time around is the significant percentage of 360 owners who also use the Live service in some form or another. To put it very simply, an Xbox 360 without Live is a crippled machine, drastically reducing the incentive to use this hack. A piece of hardware can always be hacked; however, a well maintained online service is a moving target that cannot be consistently hacked. The PSP is a good example of this in practice, with hacks being stamped out by firmware upgrades as fast as homebrewers can write them. Perhaps we have finally entered into the era of the unhackable console after all.
  • If we were able to run unsigned binaries, we probably wouldn't need this particular hack.

    This hack has absolutely nothing to do with running Linux or anything else unsigned. And last I checked, DL media was like $10 per disc, so it made no sense to use it to pirate movies that cost $20 for a legit copy. Wake me up when we can:

    - Upgrade the hard disk in the 360 with a stock SATA one off Newegg
    - Run any game we want off the hard disk, instead of the DVD

    That would be seriously good news for b
  • From the article:

    * Can Microsoft detect it via Xbox LIVE? They probably can ... and when they start checking they will probably act like with the Xbox1, ban your Xbox 360 console serial for life from the LIVE servers ... or maybe even more, who knows what they are planning. You've been warned!

    You have been warned I guess.

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